Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Songs with orchestra
Ruhe, meine Seele op.27 no.1 (1894, 1948) [3:41]
Waldseligkeit (1901) [2:53]
Freundliche Vision op.48 no.1 (1900) [2:33]
Morgen op. 27 no.4 (1894) [3:48]
Befreit op.39 no.4 (1898) [5:07]
Meinem Kinde op.37 no.3 (1897) [2:22]
Winterweihe op.48 no.4 (1906) [2:55]
Wiegenlied op.41 no.1 (1899, 1916) [3:57]
Die Heil’gen Drei Könige aus Morgenland op. 56 no.6 (1906) [6:00]
Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings (1945) [25:48]
Gundula Janowitz (soprano)
Academy of London/Richard Stamp
rec. Abbey Road Studio 1, London, April 1988 and November 1989 (tracks 1-9), All Saints Church, Tooting, London, October 1988 (track 10)
VIRGIN CLASSICS 5221302 [59:33]


Experience Classicsonline

I have admired the voice of Gundula Janowitz ever since I heard her in the soprano part of Carmina Burana in Karl Böhm’s DG recording, back in the early 1970s. That was made soon after she had first burst onto the international scene, in her early thirties. These Strauss songs were recorded towards the end of her career (her ‘official’ farewell was in 1990), yet the fundamental qualities of her voice remained largely undiminished – a smoothness throughout the registers, a youthful freshness both of tone and of style, and, above all, a radiantly thrilling high register.

This last quality suits Richard Strauss down to the ground, and she made one of the most renowned of all recordings of the Four Last Songs with Karajan in the 1970s. You can expect the same standards and the same beauties here. It is greatly to the credit of Richard Stamp and his Academy of London that the orchestral accompaniment – as important as the voice part in these songs – is on a par with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic. 

And they are such very wonderful songs; at least three of the ones here are easily as great as those Four Last Songs – I would unhesitatingly nominate Ruhe meine Seele, Morgen and Befreit in that regard. The first of these, which opens the recital, is particularly interesting. Strauss composed it way back in the 1890s for his wife Pauline, herself a fine soprano, with piano accompaniment. Yet, nearly fifty years later, in the terrible days following the end of World War 2, he paused in the middle of composing the Four Last Songs in order to orchestrate this earlier work. The reason he did so is simple and poignant - though the liner-notes do not point out this salient fact; that day, Strauss’s name had been cleared by the de-Nazification tribunal. He turned to the early song, whose words mean ‘Rest, my Soul’, to express his thanksgiving and, it must be said, his profound relief. 

Janowitz’s voice is inherently light; do not expect the weight and intensity of a Schwarzkopf or a Norman. But her relatively uncomplicated, ‘classical’ approach, brings dividends of its own in terms of clarity of expression and phrasing. And then, there is the sheer elation of that extraordinary, golden high register – supreme! 

The final track is no mere ‘filler’, for it contains one of Strauss’s late masterpieces. The Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings is his dirge for lost Germany, inspired, if that’s the word, by walking among the post-war ruins of the Munich Opera House, one of Europe’s most famously beautiful buildings, and a venue where his career had taken some of its first sensational steps. It is a savagely difficult work, a nearly half-hour Adagio of incredible intensity. I have an early Furtwängler live recording, where the Berlin Philharmonic strings are completely lost and at sea for thirty bars or so! Nothing like that here, happily. A meticulously prepared performance, yet full of feeling, and achieving the essential sense of devastation in the coda, where Strauss dredges up, almost inaudibly, the funeral march theme from the Eroica Symphony. 

This is a wonderful disc, though it has to be acknowledged that it enters one of the more competitive fields in the catalogue. Both the songs and Metamorphosen have been blessed by many great recordings. But Janowitz’s voice is truly in a class of its own, one of a kind, and I would urge Strauss lovers and lovers of the soprano voice not to miss the opportunity to hear this recording.

Gwyn Parry-Jones


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.